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DepEd, private schools oppose academic freeze amid COVID-19 pandemic


The Department of Education (DepEd) and the Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations (COCOPEA) on Friday said they are against an academic freeze this school year amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Interviewed on Dobol B sa News TV, Education Undersecretary for Legislative Affairs, External Partnerships and Project Management Service Tonisito Umali said more than 24 million students have so far enrolled for the upcoming school year which is set to begin on October 5.

“‘Yan ang maaaring tingnan na maraming mga anak na… wala pong gagawin sa gitna ng kanilang pagpapahayag (ng academic freeze),” Umali said.

He said the department is doing the adjustments it can as the country transitions to blended learning amid the health crisis.

“Posibleng naninibago pa ang karamihan… kung kaagad na academic freeze ang gagawin natin eh baka mabigat naman po ito masyado,” Umali said.

Meanwhile, COCOPEA managing director Joseph Noel Estrada said an academic freeze will result in learning loss for students.

“February pa or March pa ‘yong iba nahinto na ‘yong pag-aaral nila last school year at napakahabang panahon na ang lumipas bago nakabalik ang mga estudyante… Kung sa ordinary times ang isang estudyante nakapag-absent ng isang araw lang, katakot-takot na paghahabol ang kinakailangang gawin para ma-meet ang learning competencies,” Estrada said.

From the time classes were interrupted to now, he said students only have 70% learning gains left from last school year in the reading subject, and 50% in mathematics and other subjects.

“Halos isang buong taon ang nawala sa kanila equivalent sa kanilang pag-aaral so makikita mo talaga na kailangang maghabol at ‘di ‘to maso-solve lalo kung magkakaroon ng academic freeze,” he said.

If there will be an academic freeze, Estrada said students will just be delayed from their learning competencies.

“Asuming na magkaroon tayo ng academic freeze, after 1 year pagbalik mo, nawalan ka na ng 1 year, uulitin mo pa ‘yong dapat mong inaral ngayong taon so lalong made-delay ang mga estudyante natin,” he said.

Moreover, Estrada said they are against the idea especially since there are students who are still eager to learn despite the circumstances brought by the pandemic.

“Sila ‘yong dapat tulungan na makapagpatuloy instead of calling for everyone to just drop the ball,” he said.

Earlier, the DepEd moved the opening classes for the upcoming school year from August 24 to October 5.

Education Secretary Leonor Briones also renewed the department’s vow to give psychosocial support to teachers and school personnel amid the pandemic. -Ma. Angelica Garcia/MDM, GMA News

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